TKR Newbie too

Knee1225

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Hello,

This is my first post. I had my tkr last Monday. I would like to know if some of the stuff I’m doing and experiencing is “normal“ or, if there are suggestions on how to change things.

I spend a lot of time lying in bed because I’m not sure what else to do after my exercises. I have enough constant pain and stiffness that it’s not comfortable doing much else for more than 10 or 15 minutes. When I’m up I can move around pretty good with my walker. When I’m laying down I either have my leg stretched flat, elevated or elevated with ice. I’m still taking pain meds but it’s the smallest dose possible every 5 hours. I think I should try to get off pain meds but it hurts when I skip a time. Do most people still take their pain meds after 1 week? What type of activities do you do? I don’t feel I’ve been advised enough on what is “normal”, and I understand everyone is different. I guess I will end here for now to see what the responses are.

Thank you in advance.
 

Jockette

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Hi and Welcome!

Lots of members take their pain medication well past the first week. It is important to your healing to have your pain controlled.

I will leave you our Recovery Guidelines. Each article is short but very informative. Following these guidelines will help you have a less painful recovery.

Knee Recovery: The Guidelines
1. Don’t worry: Your body will heal all by itself. Relax, let it, don't try and hurry it, don’t worry about any symptoms now, they are almost certainly temporary
2. Control discomfort:
rest
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)​

3. Do what you want to do BUT
a. If it hurts, don't do it and don't allow anyone - especially a physical therapist - to do it to you​
b. If your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again.​


4. PT or exercise can be useful BUT take note of these

5. At week 4 and after you should follow this

6. Access to these pages on the website

The Recovery articles:
The importance of managing pain after a TKR and the pain chart
Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it?
Energy drain for TKRs
Elevation is the key
Ice to control pain and swelling
Heel slides and how to do them properly
Chart representation of TKR recovery
Healing: how long does it take?

Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
Sleep deprivation is pretty much inevitable - but what causes it?

There are also some cautionary articles here
Myth busting: no pain, no gain
Myth busting: the "window of opportunity" in TKR
Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds

We try to keep the forum a positive and safe place for our members to talk about their questions or concerns and to report successes with their joint replacement surgery.

While members may create as many threads as they like in the majority of BoneSmart’s forums, we ask that each member have only One Recovery Thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review the member’s history before providing advice, so please post any updates or questions you have right here in this thread.
 

Jockette

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Also, please confirm the date of your surgery. Was it December 2?
 

sistersinhim

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When I’m laying down I either have my leg stretched flat, elevated or elevated with ice. I’m still taking pain meds but it’s the smallest dose possible every 5 hours. I think I should try to get off pain meds but it hurts when I skip a time. Do most people still take their pain meds after 1 week?
Most of us find it extremely painful to lay with our new knee completely flat. You can have a slight bend in it to help that pain.

Be sure and read the articles that Jockette left you. They are very helpful in this recovery that you are just beginning. You are just starting on a year-long journey to a pain-free knee, though many find that they can start to do normal things in 3-4 months.

You need to take pain meds as long as you need them. If you take them for pain only, then there's little chance of becoming addicted. You'll find that soon you'll be forgetting to take them on schedule and can skip doses with no problems. It's way too soon to try that now.
 

lovetocookandsew

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Welcome to BoneSmart! On which leg did you have the TKR?

What you're experiencing is normal; although everybody is different, many things are basically the same for most people. We all experience pain after this surgery; some for a few weeks, some for longer. After my TKR I was in a lot of pain for a long time and needed pain relief. I don't remember exactly how long but I believe it was around six weeks. After my revision, I was unable to take any pain meds, so was given different forms of pain relief for about two weeks; at the end of those two weeks I miraculously had no more significant pain. It was the same knee with two very different pain reactions, so when we say every knee is different, I know that even the same knee with two surgeries is very different.

Continue to take your pain meds on schedule as long as you need them. You'll know you need them less, or not at all, when you keep forgetting to take them on schedule and find yourself in little to no pain. But that could be two weeks or longer; as long as you only take them when needed for the post surgery pain, you'll be fine.

Whenever you're sitting or lying down it's a good idea to elevate and ice-it helps with pain control and also swelling. As long as you have a cloth between your knee and the icing source, you can ice for as long as you like. Just remember to get up and move around often; gradually increasing your daily activities as advised in the Activity Progression article in the guidelines Jockette left for you.

Please keep us posted as you recover and ask any questions you have-we're here to help. Good luck!
 

NewToMe

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Welcome @Knee1225

Rest, ice&elevate! Take your meds on schedule! Watch crappy TV, play silly computer games to pass the time and move around every hour or so when not sleeping. While you rest, your body is healing.

This bonesmart group is awesome with fabulous people, keep us updated on your progress. :welome:
 

Rockgirl4

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Welcome, and I'm glad you're past the first awful week of recovery. :)

As for "normal," this is different for EVERYONE. Some of us swell a lot, some a little. Some have miserable pain for weeks that meds barely help, whereas others have little pain and can get by with little to no narcotics and just Tylenol. It truly is a mystery how the human body will respond/heal. You'll also find many here who have had TKRs on both knees, yet one knee's TKR didn't behave the same as the other knee following a TKR, even with the same surgeon and prosthesis. So don't beat yourself up over how ever long you need to recover.

Also, please don't rush to return to normal activity or get rid of the pain meds. Your recovery can easily be slowed/derailed by pain and doing too much. Yes, it's possible to do TOO MUCH during recovery, though many PTs will argue differently. I hope you didn't have one of those surgeons who made it sound like life would be back to normal by 6 wks. Many find we really need a full year which is the truest, most realistic expectation for complete recovery. I was grateful to my surgeon who warned me that even being fit and healthy at age 46, I was no more special than someone sedentary at age 75.....age and fitness level does NOT speed recovery, and again, it's an individual journey to recovery. I wish you well though. :)
 

Helizabug

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I’m just a week or so ahead of you in my recovery. I feel pretty good about it. I marked my first days by noting my gait when I went to the bathroom or out into the hall, noting my ability to focus, and noting the different sensations in my knee. Very narrow world to start with. When I could pay attention to a whole episode of The Great British Bake Off, I was pretty glad. When I could just listen to music, that was nice, but I knew I was struggling.

Now, I’m walking a little outside, still watching my gait, but also watching the world on my short block. I’m exercising my good leg, upper body, and core very gently, but it feels good to honor the strength they offer. Daring to let my foot dangle a little more, a little longer, but not much. Wider world, and getting wider all the time.

And I manage my pain by alternating Acetaminophen and ibuprofen because the Oxycodone was too hard on my bowels. Ibuprofen isn’t a good choice for everyone, but it seems to be easing some swelling and inflammation for me, which is key for my mobility, I think.

It’s all working pretty well with the pain usually under 5, often under 3. There are occasional new and funky pains; and there are low points daily, but they’re manageable.

Pay attention to things that don’t improve with rest and meds. Don’t let pain or swelling get out of hand. Ask for help and info.

For me, it’s about knowing this will get better even if it feels awful for a short time. Those short times can seem endless while they’re going on, but they do, usually, fade into very manageable challenges.

Good luck!
 

Celle

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@Knee1225 - I've changed the title of your thread a little - and called it "Newbie too", because there is already another thread called "Newbie."

Having two threads with exactly the same name would have caused confusion and there's a strong chance that comments and updates would have been posted on the wrong thread.

If you'd like another title for your thread, just post what you'd like it to be and we'll change it for you.
Thank you for understanding.
 

InkedMarie

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I used a Lounge Doctor wedge which gave me a little be d, which is fine. As far as what I did, I did some napping. Some reading, a lot of Facebook and BoneSmart reading. Every time I got up to use the bathroom, which was often as I was drinking a lot of water in order to stay hydrated, I walked around my home.
I think if you’re having enough pain that you’re contemplating pain meds, you should continue to take them.
 
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Knee1225

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Thank you for your response. It’s helpful to hear other people’s experiences just for the reassurance that your own recovery is similar.

I hope your recovery is going well.
 

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